Friday, January 13, 2012

Newt Gingrich and the Southern strategy

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Is this just Newt Gingrich being "condescending and dickish"? Is it just an old, wealthy, white Republican being clueless?

I guess I'm not as charitable as Jon Stewart. I think that Gingrich knew exactly what he was saying, and that he said it for political effect in an overwhelmingly white Republican Party in a southern state.

Anyone who'd be upset about implied racism wouldn't be voting GOP in the first place. And very few African Americans will be voting in the Republican primary. (Gee, I wonder why?)

All of the Republican candidates are trying desperately to appeal to the Republican base, and their notorious "Southern strategy" of deliberately appealing to white racists is which attracted those people to the GOP in the first place. So it's hard for me to believe that this wasn't also deliberate.

It's not that I don't think that Gingrich is clueless, generally speaking. But in this case, I think he knew exactly what he was doing: he was trying to appeal to the Republican base. And he was doing it in the same way Republicans have been wooing those people since the 1960s.

As Charles M. Blow says, "Playing to racial anxiety and fear isn’t a fluke; it’s a strategy that energizes the Republican base."

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